The Champions League Playoff rounds are over, and the final 32 teams for best club competition in Europe have also been decided. The all important draw for the group stages will take shape at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco on Thursday.
All clubs in Europe have a desire to play in the Champions League, but only a few from each nation can make it to the main draw. Of the 32 teams, 22 were automatic qualifiers via their domestic competitions while the other 10 got through from the Playoff stages.
Teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, PSG, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Manchester City are quite regular in the Champions League. They are the big teams in the competitions alongside Manchester United, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid.
However, some quality teams like Liverpool and Napoli only made it to the group stages via playoffs. Defending champions Real Madrid is the most successful team in Europe with 12 titles, and will start this season as one of the top favourites as well.
The 32 teams have been divided into four different pots, and each group will only have four teams, making it eight groups in total. The first pot of the Champions League includes the reigning champion (Real Madrid) and winners of domestic titles of seven countries. The next three pots have been divided as per the rankings in order of 2017 UEFA coefficient.
No group in the main draw can have two teams from the same country, meaning the five Premier League teams will be in different groups as well.
Here is a look at all the four pots.
Pot 1: Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Benfica, Chelsea, Shakhtar Donetsk, Monaco, Spartak Moscow
Pot 2: Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Manchester City, FC Porto, Manchester United
Pot 3: Napoli, Tottenham Hotspur, FC Basel, Olympiakos, Anderlecht, Liverpool, Roma, Besiktas
Pot 4: Celtic, CSKA Moscow, Sporting CP, APOEL Nicosia, Feyenoord, NK Maribor, FK Qarabag, RB Leipzig
All the teams would be keen to avoid the heavyweights of the Champions League including, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus. Such kind of draw is all about luck as well. Any team could get any other club (besides the same country team) in the Champions League, which makes it even more interesting.
The first round of the matches will be played on 12-13 September, marking another season of Champions League football, which has always provided some mouth-watering contests.
Where and how to watch
Champions League draw is scheduled for 5 pm BST, 9:30 pm IST, 12 pm ET on Thursday. Here are the tv and live streaming options.
India: TV: Sony Ten 2/HD. Live Streaming: Sony Liv
UK: TV: BT Sport 2. Live Streaming: Watch BT Sport.
USA: TV: Fox Sports 2. Live streaming: Fox Soccer 2 Go.
Global live streaming: Uefa.com